Beighton, Sheffield born centre forward Willis Rippon started his career in junior football with Hackenthorpe in 1903, Rawmarsh Albion in 1904, Sandhill Rovers in 1905 and Kilnhurst Town in 1906 before being signed by First Division Bristol City, for whom he made his Football League debut against Manchester City in October 1907 but spent 1907-08 as a fringe player. He got an extended run in the first team from November 1908 and scored 5 goals in 8 FA Cup ties, including one each in the FA Cup semi final drawn game with Derby County at Stamford Bridge, a penalty in a 1-1 draw, and in their 2-1 replay win at St Andrews, Birmingham, again from the penalty spot. However he didn’t play in the 1909 FA Cup Final, a game which The Robins lost 1-0 to Manchester United (either he was injured or he wasn’t selected perhaps due to injury as he’d been in the team until 11 days before the Final.
In 1909-10 he returned to the fringes of the first team at Ashton Gate and signed for Woolwich Arsenal in July 1910 after 19 goals in 45 appearances for City. At Arsenal he scored on his debut but played just nine games for the club, scoring twice in total before being transferred to Southern League Brentford in October 1911, where he scored 20 goals in 29 appearances during the rest of 1911-12. There followed a notable spell in Scotland with Hamilton Academical after joining them in the 1912 close season where Rippon scored 25 goals in 43 Scottish League and Cup appearances, before he linked up with his brother Pip at Grimsby Town in October 1913. He had a single season at Blundell Park, scoring 12 goals in 23 appearances and he finished his career with a move to Rotherham County in 1914, also playing for Rotherham Town before the onset of the First World War.
His younger brother Thomas “Pip” Rippon played for Grimsby Town and Lincoln City and other non league clubs including York City, playing his League football both sides of the First World War.